Our Digital IQ Index: Spirits report — released today — found consumption in the category had exploded due to the resurgence of a cocktail culture and growing demand in emerging markets. However, little of the excess profits went to digital as most brands preferred to invest in television ads. TV ad spend increased 35% from 2010, topping all media investments.
Spirits brands’ spending on digital media has increased in the past few years, but remains a fifth of other industries. Regulation has presented barriers for Spirits brands looking to market their products online. For example, Google dropped wine, beer and liquor from its product listings in June 2012, classifying them as “non-family safe.” And in May 2013, the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau defined social media pages for alcoholic beverages as advertisements, increasing scrutiny on platforms that lack age-gating mechanisms.
Despite that, many conglomerates are forging ahead with digital initiatives. Bacardi announced last year it would allocate 15% of its marketing budget to digital, four times the industry average. In November, Diageo expanded its multi-platform consumer site TheBar.com to the U.K. and eight other markets. For more on the digital strategy of 68 global Spirits brands, download an excerpt of our report.